Ding Dong...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ding Dong...

...nah, not yet, at least. Rather than a Yip Harburg lyric from "The Wizard of Oz," the appropriate cite is from Shakespeare:

"We have scotch'd the snake, not killed it."
MacBeth, Act III, Scene 2

Levan Says She Won't Seek Relection To Westhampton Beach Village Board

So the curtain may be falling on the Empress' nearly five year reign as a Trustee, but the melody will, for awhile longer, linger on.

On the one hand, I'm sad to see her go... I was soooooo looking forward to a rematch of our 2007 contest.

But in a less selfish mode, a number of folks are doing a happy little dance to the tune of "No more Joan!"

And while she certainly had her fans... in­cluding some within Six Corners... the people on the Board of Peconic Bay Medical Center are going to discover soon enough, the Empress of Oneck does not play well with others!

(And I cannot imagine a more deserving individual who will have to address that situation than big cheese Andy Mitchell.)

I'll put it to you directly, Mrs. L., while the rest of it was mostly a matter of style (yours didn't fit) the obstructionist tactics you and your protégé Hank Tucker have used to thwart police disciplinary hearings over the past 17 months were inexplicable and inexcusable.

I am aware that you initially offered as a reason for not holding hearings was that they would be "too costly," every vote you've cast since then has helped fulfill that prophesy.

And that, sadly, will be the legacy of your almost five-year reign.

(Disclosure: The writer [me] will be challenging for a Trustee seat on the Village Board in June.)


1. Crabby said...

While you're on the subject of "too costly," is it correct that Ms. Levan continues to control the purse-strings of our very publicly funded, bazillion dollar, McLibrary? (and that if there were any questions the accounting firm declined to speak to the IRS regarding the fiscal year 2010 Federal 990 Form for the first time since they have been preparing it?) I am sensing a serious case of fuzzy math.

One must further conclude she has a remarkable facility for spending other people's money.

There are some in the Village who see a conflict of interest in people simultaneously being on the Library Board and the Village Board. Is there any validity to this concern?

The whole Library matter is a murky one... and beyond my comprehension on several levels, the most pressing one being that the WFL Board is a "closed shop." It's not elected by public vote, yet they spend a great deal of public money each year. I don't think Library District taxpayers understand this... wanna be on the Board? You have to be invited to join by the existing Board members!

So is there a conflict with Joan Levan and Hank Tucker serving on both Boards and controlling so much taxpayer money? I think so... but then I'm not the Attorney General.
– Dean

2. Dune Mind said...

Oh my, the Library's FY'10 990 is a doozy. Let us set aside, for a moment, that they've yet again claimed that 100% of their fundraising costs are covered by Friends of the Library, an entity that has not completed a 990 since 2006. The WFL's 990 stands as a work of art unto itself. And as accountant Giaquinto will not stand behind the Library's numbers, the artwork stands squarely as a gift from Treasurer Levan.

(Fellow art lovers, the 990 is available for download from www.guidestar.org.)

Just on first pass: the report lacks required information on 15 contractors paid more than $100,000. (Overruns and failure to procure competitive bids, anyone?) As with the 990s for the past three years, it answers [$0] for outstanding tax-exempt bonds and indicates that the financing of the building is a private mortgage. (Yes, really – with all that private implies.) And at a new density of fiscal opacity, even for the WFL, all of the required information on the value and financing of land, buildings, and equipment is missing.

Not that the attachments in prior years were anything close to complete, mind you; by way of example, they've never once included the amortization table from the Bond Announcement, which shows that the $7,827,820 bond will actually cost District taxpayers $11,741,142.

But this 990 is a veritable "wolf-whistle" to Albany for an investigation if ever there were one. Perhaps the Bank of New York will be even more interested, as it is the bond trustee.

Congratulations, Joan!

Well, DM, you are certainly operating w-a-a-a-y above me in the forensic accountng department, but aren't peopleoften indicted for such practices?

3. Dune Mind said...

Often? No. Precisely for the reason that some degree of forensic accounting has to be done to show a pattern of practice, and the affected public must be engaged.

[In this case, the pattern of practice will not be difficult to establish for 2008-2010.]

News media attention helps tremendously – keeping in mind that an organization's inability or refusal to produce documentation upon request is itself newsworthy. The press, the bond trustee, and taxpayers should feel free to ask the Library to produce the above cited missing information, as well as the Schedule K, which should show liabilities on bond issues. And we all should be asking why the 990 has never been posted to the Library's website, because that is what they have been reporting to the IRS. ("Disclosure" is Part VI, Section C of the 990).

You mean this? 2010 Annual Report? If so, I don't see it.

4. Crabby said...

Didn't the Library Board members, including Hank Tucker, have to sign off on this document? Why yes, they did! Five of the seven were present according to the minutes.

"A motion by Levan and SECONDED BY Tucker to accept the audit of financial statements of June 30, 2010 as prepared by Joe Giaquinto. Approved."
(Copied from the Regular meetings of the Westhampton Free Library Board of Trustees for 2010 - 2011 in November, 2010.)

Dang. The times I've witnessed Hank on the Village dais, he is often delinquent on his reading! It's deja vu all over again....
Um, thank you, Yogi Berra!

5. EastEnd68 said...

"And as accountant Giaquinto will not stand behind the Library's numbers...."
"A motion by Levan and SECONDED BY Tucker to accept the audit of financial statements of June 30, 2010 as prepared by Joe Giaquinto. Approved."
Do these two statements contradict each other? Joe will not stand behind the numbers, but then Joe prepared what was approved.

I'm confused again.
Stay tuned....

6. Hunt Marckwald said...

Sounds like you are going to sink your teeth into this one! Go for it.

It is, I fear, mostly above my particular skill set... but see the latest blog entry.

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